Sunday, 31 July 2011

Itinery details

Finally. Me and Harune decided to sit down and work out exactly what will happen when and what is now required to sort out the fine details of our travels.
We need to find 2 people to join us on the safari, cheap flights from Arusha to Zanzibar and sort out the whole flight out of Dubai. As well as this. We need to book hotel in Zanzibar and Dubai.

Alhamdulillah. The blessed month of Ramadan is upon us today so I'm off to read the first tarawee prayer of many in the local mosque.

Please sponsor this very noble cause at:

Last chance

This weekend was the last time that I could have gone out and blasted the hills of the UK for some training but alas it wasn't to be. My demanding life required the purchasing of uniforms for next term and stocking up on essentials for Ramadan as well as other menial jobs that couldn't be delayed.

Its a shame as the weather has been perfect and it really was the only chance I had to do any mountain training, quite upset about that.

This last week has been too busy though with my Arabic exams. It's all a bit topsy turvy with Exams, Ramadan and Kili all intertwined but what has to be done, has to be done.

On the plus side, Starting from tomorrow, I can start collecting in peoples pledges. Many said they would give but in Ramadan so now I can work on getting to that target.

Oh, My new jacket arrived too! It seems a little on the large side but It seems to fit ok with a fleece and stuff. Maybe I will have to build some serious muscle instead!

Ramping up the training

On the advice of Sarah, I decided to ramp up my training considerably.

Thursday (21st July) I dusted off my running shoes put the iPhone of shuffle and started off on my usual 5 kilometre canal run. I kept the pace very slow just to get myself back into the routine of running again. It was worth it and felt very good. I knew that I would either feel better for it or would seriously damage something. I’m glad it went the right way!

With this new found motivation, I went to Moseley School Health and Fitness centre for the first time again in years. I miss this place. It’s such a nice quaint place to work out and brings back good memories of yesteryear. I started a nice easy run on the treadmill. I hate treadmills. It’s such artificial running. After a thorough stretch, I moved to the climber. Not that I ever buy home gym equipment but if I were ever to purchase anything, it would be one of these:

I programmed in half an hour on hilly terrain and started off. What a great workout. If I could just do this everyday, I’m sure I would be mega prepared for Kilimanjaro! Though I didn’t think I would, I managed to complete the programme. So then I moved onto working leg muscles. I found 2 machines that could be my saviours: a glute strengthening machine and a hamstring strengthening machine. These two babies will get me back in shape properly. You see, all the cycling that I have been doing has made my thigh muscles very strong but has done nothing for the hamstrings. As such, my legs have massive muscle imbalances. This imbalance pulls hips, knee caps, ankles and feet out of alignment causing all sorts of aches and pains. Time to fix this!

On Monday (25th July), I cycled it into work in the morning as usual but at the end of the day, as my walking shoes were in my locker at work, I popped them on and started my march home. Then Tuesday morning, I walking back into work and back home again. On Wednesday I walked in again but cycled home. By this time, my legs were getting very fatigued. I had however done 4 continuous sessions of 4 mile walks. So 16 miles at the beginning of this week is not bad going. I’ve also been rigorous in stretching too as if I don’t keep on top of this, I’ll cause more damage to myself.

Yarnfield School Fundraiser

Thursday was the last day of school for Yarnfield Primary School. It was also the day that Matt Wynne, the headmaster chose for the charity fundraising non school uniform day. It was unclear how much would be raised from this event. Matt suggested somewhere in the region of £350 so that’s what I’ve been calculating all along. The day went by and the children enjoyed it. Though for some very odd reason, though Ismail went in non school uniform, Is’haaq had actually gone in full uniform… imagine that, my own son, in school uniform?! Preposterous!

I went to the school the following morning to collect the monies. Though it wasn’t ready, I was told they would be kind enough to count it and write a cheque for me so that I wouldn’t have to be lumbered with a ton of coins.

I headed off to work and a short while later got a call from the school with the final sum. £600.00!!! My jaw dropped. I never in a million years expected that much. What an absolutely staggering effort from both the teachers and pupils. I was told that they even decided to add in the money raised from the 5 penny collection that each class was doing. I is so heart warming to learn about this kind of generosity.

Flag update: I was advised that the logo would look much better on a white background as it contains lots of blue anyway. The printing company may be able to supply the right material but if not, I will have to buy some more. I can’t wait to get it finally printed. I do however have the design in my head of what I will do with it in the end. I know some of the staff and kids read this blog so I’ll keep quiet about it for now!

Long awaited update (s)

I’ve been super busy revising for my Arabic exams of late so things are a bit delayed on here so very sorry.

Last Wednesday (20th July) I had the second samosa sale. I was much better in setting everything up but Chandigarh, the samosa suppliers were very very late (40mins) in delivering them. I had massive queues so naturally was rather worried because people would start to leave. Fortunately when they eventually did turn up, Me, Sarah and Paul pulled together and sold samosas like they were going out of fashion! We managed to sell them all in under an hour which was absolutely mind blowing considering there were 600 of them!

I managed to raise a staggering £277 for the charity bringing the total from the Lancaster Circus Samosa sales to £677!

Monday, 18 July 2011

Bad Samosa, Good Samosa

The bad samosa story:

Well, what a washout weekend! Saturday, the curtains opened to a world for garden lawns! Completely chucked it down for at least the beginning half of the day. As I was on route to Barry Island to spend what would probably be the last 'day out' with my family. Enroute, I get a call from Harune "it's chucking it down with rain, no ones gonna turn up, I don't think its worth bothering about the Conway school fair". I thought he was right so I called Chandigar and cancelled the samosas.

Just in case you're interested, we had a very nice time in Barry Island. The rain stopped and 'ole Mr Sun put his hat back on!'

The good samosa story:

I finished the poster, very late the other night so I couldn't post it up. Just as well actually because there were quite a few spelling mistakes on it. So I corrected them at work with a bit of Microsoft Paint handywork. The posters went up in the lift today but after not too long, a colleague came and asked about the very obvious mistake. Apparently the date on my poster was WEDNESDAY 21ST JULY...

... Wednesday is the 20th!

So a bit more handy work on MS Paint and some new posters were ready for the lifts.
I've decided to knock down the order to 600 samosas this time rather then the massive 800 in the first run. I'd rather sell out quickly then have to walk around.

Hopefully it will all go well on Wednesday.

In other news:

The non school uniform day has been mentioned in the Yarnfield School Assembly. I'm really excited. Its very touching to get the support from the school and the kids. More then anything, it always brings it back to the forefront that it's all for the orphans. I'm sure that many of the children will not realise how their actions will have such a profound impact on children on the other side of the planet but that's the truth.

Our tickets have now arrived. Flights are going from Manchester to Dubai to Dar es Salaam... interesting. I have requested an itinerary from Tahseen as if we to do anything else, we really need to know the schedule.

Anyway, a great programme on the life of the Prophet Muhammad is one now so time to wrap up!

Thursday, 14 July 2011

New stuff a go go!

The fund raising activity continues...

Saturday is the Fair at Conway school. I hope we are not being too ambitious with 200 samosas but hopefully it will all go well. Harune and his friend Turbo (Tayyab), who was once a pupil there.

I will be on a family trip to Barry Island with Ismails madrassa. It's likely that this will be the last outing with my family before I go... don't say anything... I didn't choose Barry Island! To top it off, I think it will be raining on Saturday. Oh well, so much for the white linen shorts I bought for the trip!

The Samosa sale is on for next Wednesday. I'm sitting on my computer updating my blog when in fact I switched it on to design the next poster. I have a few ideas! I'm running late with the advertising too. 700 samosas I've decided. 100 less then last time but I'm gonna have to push... it's all for charity. I'll blog the poster when I finish.

I've decided to go ahead with a Krispy creme doughnut sale on the last day of term too.

I've heard nothing back from the flag people for the flag of Yarnfield school so I'm on to another printer. I'm really looking forward to flying the flag for the school so I want it to look absolutely pukka! Shaz was quite surprised how fussy I was with the material!

In fact, Ismails just told me that all the kids in the school are very excited about the Kilimanjaro climb and are always googling it... no pressure!

Tahseen called yesterday. The meeting is off. Not enough people could make it which is a shame. He will organise something for the end of August but a) I think thats too late and b)it will be the last ten days of Ramadan so I'm not compromising that.

Training wise, I seem to be hurting everywhere! My iliobial band is playing havoc so I'm rolling the hell out of it but inshallah it will be ok.

gotta do this poster now!

Monday, 11 July 2011

The good with the bad.

I was annoyed today because fundraising gas slowed down somewhat. However, I met the Yarnfield school headmaster who tells me non school uniform day will be the last day of term and I can collect money at the end of the day.

I also enquirer about the flag. I don't have prices yet but I'm told it's easily possible to have a full colour print.

I also enquired with the building manager regarding a second samosa sale. Hopefully they will agree.

The bad?
I enquired about our tickets. Though they have been booked, they are with emirates. This means that the flight will land Dar es Salaam and not Kilimanjaro. That's a 650 km drive! An absolute killer just before the trek and a complete waste of day. I'm sure these things will be aired as we have a meeting in Sheffield with the whole team.

It may work out for the better for Zanzibar though as we can ferry back and fly to Britland. Having said this if we had gone with KLM, we could have flown direct to Kili airport, then to Zanzibar and then from Zanzibar to UK. Simple. But unfortunately... Nothing ever is...

Please sponsor this very noble cause at:

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Ticket booking

Tahseen called today to confirm some name and D.O.B details for me and Harune. This was because he is now going to book our tickets! Wahaay... another step closer. We're also pushing the end date to the 19th from the 15th as we plan to do a Safari and maybe even Zanzibar!

However, I also found out that we'll probably be doing the Marangu route, also known as the Cola-cola route. This is because we will have women with us and as the Marangu is the only path with proper huts, it's also the only route with proper facilities (toilets etc). So it will be better for them. However, it's not as scenic as the Machame route that we originally planned to climb and it's also got less chance of success because of the shorter climb.

I can easily live with the less scenic route as all the routes will be scenic for me. When you haven't seen anything, it's all good. The 'lower chance of success' part is what bothers me. My purpose is not to 'try' to climb Kili, my purpose is to summit. So if we do go up this route. I will insist on a rest day for acclimatisation.

I've requested that we all meet as soon as possible to meet the group and also to discuss these kinds of things. Tahseen wants to meet late in August. I want to meet in the next couple of weeks. We'll see what happens.

Actually I've just had a text from T Proposing a meeting on 15th July. I'll have to see if I can make it as it's very close to exam time. It's also in Sheffield which is kinda central as fundraisers are from Lancashire and Birmingham. We'll see how things pan out. Alhamdulillah, it seems the whole group is itching to meet each other!

In other news: I went out and got the material for the flag for Yarnfield School. Now I have the school badge image and the flag material, I just need someone to put one onto the other!

Please sponsor this very noble cause at:

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

The Gear freak is surfacing

Ok. So I walked back home yesterday (in running shoes) and walked back in today in my walking boots. These have got Superfeet orthotics in them but were cut a little short by the shop dude me thinks (I should have said something then really). I may need some new orthotics...

I've been looking very closely at the Bear Grylls shirts made by Craghoppers. I like the look of them a lot and want to get one. I also like the look of the trousers!
(update): I just bought one! They are cheaper then any other shirt at the moment so what the hell!

I've also been loving this Suunto Core watch. It looks so menacing and with the demise of my Triathlon watch (probably indicates the demise of my triathlon competing altogether!) there is space for a new watch!

A new jacket is definitely needed too. Old Lowe Alpine Flash has served me very well but it's heavy, very heavy and I need something much lighter... ok, ok, I just want an Arcteryx Alpha SV but thats a lot of very big dollars. Would I settle for anything less though?

Good underwear is another thing, proper stuff that wicks well and stuff.

Its all getting expensive now!

Monday, 4 July 2011

Yarnfield School assembly

I'd had a meeting a couple of weeks back with Matthew Wynne, the headmaster of Yarnfield Primary school where both my boys Ismail and Ishaaq attend. I asked if he was willing to get the school on board with my charity fundraising. The absolute gentleman that he is, he agreed to host an event to help me in my fundraising. In fact, he had some great ideas of his own: sponsored spelling, building a mountain from recycled materials etc but in the end we decided that something simple and convenient like a non-school uniform day would be best. Anyway, as part of the deal, I agreed to his suggestion of doing one of the school assemblies to explain the cause to the childre. We penciled one in for the 4th of July. Today.

Having never done anything like this before, it was quite a challenge. I know the school have a massive projector in the hall so I wanted to make a PowerPoint presentation. I scripted it all out and found the pictures to suit, pieced it all together and it was ready for delivery.

I'm making good use of the banner too as it's going everywhere with me now!

I got to the school in the morning and Matt Wynne was not in in the morning. The other teachers were oblivious to the fact that I was supposed to do anything but were very helpful. I got a laptop, Karen (one of the teachers) helped set me up and all the children piled in. I didn't expect there to be so many but Ismail did rightly warn that there were around 200 kids there!

Ismails form teacher Mr Holt was holding an assembly on International week. This was perfect because it all fit in with what I was doing. After formalities. I was first up...
"hello kids!"

It actually went very smoothly. All the kids seemed excited and participated. I just have to hope that the non-uniform day is a success.

After, I packed then dashed to the office. I left a little early to walk back. First time in a couple of weeks. My glute is still playing up. I just hope it holds out.

Anyway... If you've been nice enough to read this far and not want to pull your toenails off out of boredom, please sponsor me on my justgiving page:


Sunday, 3 July 2011

The Balsall Heath Carnival

Yesterday was the next biggest fundraising event after my great big samosa sale. Everything was ordered and Friday night Harune was busy cutting all the onions, potatoes and spinach for the pakoras... whilst I was at my Arabic class.

It seemed mostly organised but as usual in the greater Malik household, they never really are! Saturday morning, I got a delivery at 0930 of the banner. What an amazing banner! I think it in itself raised us quite a bit of money with the attraction.

So, I grabbed the signs, stationary, money, tubs, and a few other bits n bobs from home and went over to mumndads.Grabbed Harune, went to the cash and carry and picked up some drinks, brown bags and chippy trays. By this time it was past 11am and stalls were setting up. But, we still had to get Samosas from Smethwick and so straight to Chandighar on Bearwood Road for the Samosas, picked them up and off to the park.

We had a walk around and to our horror, the place was actually heaving with stalls selling samosas and other food. At that point I thought there was no way we could shift 400 samosas. It was even hard finding a space let alone one away from another food stall.

We propped our table on the corner by one entrance and set up. Made dua and the selling began. I can only say that Allah was with us because we really did sell and sell again. I didn't let anyone pass without preaching that we were the 'right' people to buy from because we weren't earning a penny from it. It seemed to work.

I do love the Balsall Heath Carnival because of meeting all of our chipshop customers. So many have grown, got married, had children of their own, yet they were all just children themselves who came to the shop. It's made me sad just thinking about it.

Sab, who is also joining us on the Trek was also on our stall selling cakes for £1 a go and they were selling! amazing! The mehendi thing didn't really work out though but her help was really appreciated on the stall on the day.

All of our families came down, even Zaidas lot from Coventry which was so good. Wasims family also popped down and many other notable guests!

At one point, we decided that 4 boxes of samosas are not going to sell at this Carnival so Harune took it to his workplace and sold it all in no time at all. £65-00 thank you very much! Had it stayed at the Carnival... it wouldn't have sold. So like I say, we were very blessed yesterday.

In the end Sab had three cakes and I had three samosas, I bet I would be the winner so i forced a man to buy 2 and paid 50p for the last samosas which I am scoffing in the picture below! We sold over £350 worth of stuff and actually raised over £250 for the charity. We gave some to Sab for her help and split the rest between me and Harune.

It was a great shame that mum n dad had to work so hard for this one though. A point that became a bit sticky for the family. We'll have rectify this next time....

Overall, a successful day.

Saturday, 2 July 2011

The Bear necessities

Friday was one momentous day at the office. As I walked in, there sat on my chair... in my tweed jacket was the grand teddy bear! it's huge... and quite a character! It became the talk of the office, most commented on our 'new member of staff' but it was also a great way of promoting my Kilimanjaro trek.

I learnt that Mr Bear (as yet, name is unconfirmed), has had quite a rough life up until now and it's yet to get worse. He's from a broken home, couple split, gave the bear away Came to Sarah/Martins house where he was loved by the young but rejected by the queen of the palace. Thus he has been donated to my charitable cause. He will end up being raffled off or won at off a table in a local fair of some hoooo!

But, none the less, we had fun taking pictures of him all over the place, planking and sitting in the Directors chair etc. Though I contemplated taking him home on my bike, I resorted to picking him up in the car on my way to Arabic class in an undignified journey in the boot of the car! He's since been riding in the front seat with the seat belt on.

After the mad rush today though, we didn't end up putting him up at the Balsal Heath Carnival. It would have been one extra thing to take care off and we had enough on our plate already. So we have to save him for another occasion.